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The tune “The wheels on the bus go round and round” means something
else to Cardinal Coach Line’s mechanic John Karg. A veteran mechanic in
all facets of the trade, John feels with his brilliant career choice, he has
a “good fix.”
“The satisfaction of seeing a bus come into the shop and being able fix
anything is very rewarding,” he says. “You can feel comfortable
knowing you are not only servicing the bus, but also the general public at the
Throughout his 25 years he has moved from strictly dealing
with tires, to being a supervisor for his own shop of five mechanics. He says
he has several memorable moments with Cardinal, but nothing tops his involvement
with the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
“My most memorable experience was being part of the 1988 Olympics in
Calgary,” he says. “I got to meet the athletes and spectators from
all around the world who rode our buses to the various venues. It was thrilling.”
Being an expert in bus mechanics, John has two apprentices in his shop. The
advice he gives to them as they enter the bus industry is simple-
“It’s a decent paying career,” he says. “You can have
a comfortable and satisfying life knowing you are helping the people riding
the buses you fix.”
A typical bus route for Sharon Lanham involves driving a selected bunch of
children to and from school. After 25+ years of flawless driving and extensive
experience Lanham believes the love for children kept her behind the wheel.
“Being a bus-driver fit into my schedule and seeing the same kids year
after year is very satisfying,” she says. “I really like the flexibility
of my job and also seeing the many kids grow up through the years.”
Lanham could be described as an expert in the field; therefore, when asked
what suggestions she would give new drivers, she had these tips to share.
“You must be patient not only with kids but also with traffic,”
she advises. “You have to enjoy this environment or you won’t stick
Being a veteran in the industry, Lanham has had many memorable experiences;
however, nothing, she says could top her scout trips.
“I did the charters for the World Scout jamborees in Kananaskas near
Banff four years,” she says. “Meeting the boy scouts from all over
the world was the most rewarding and amazing experience in my bus-driving career.
Seeing them in awe of [Canadian] mountains was just great.”
When Wilson Gregg came to the fork in the road, he drove down the
road of success, and half a century later found himself celebrating
his golden anniversary of 50 loyal years of service in the bus industry.
With his successful history behind the wheel of a school bus, Gregg
modestly admits he hasn’t received such recognition before.
“My fiftieth anniversary doesn’t make me feel any different,”
he says. “I thought to myself if I stayed at it I could drive
a bus for fifty years. I never thought I would get so much attention!”
Gregg’s milestone didn’t go without recognition. He
attended a golden anniversary dinner in Toronto, where he received
the Robert Harding Lifetime Achievement Award as well as an award
from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for safely transporting
children for 50 years.
“Many awards are given out every year for valour,”
he says. “I am honoured to have received this recognition
from the bus industry.”
Drivers like Gregg don’t come around everyday. In fact, Gregg’s
achievement was very exclusive for the bus industry.
“There were only three of us receiving the lifetime achievement
awards that evening,” Gregg says. “I was the only bus
driver. The other two were from the trucking industry.”
Gregg lives with his family in Bruce County Ontario. Nowadays,
he drives his bus to pick up children thinking about how many more
years he will continue his meaningful routine.
“Driving a bus gives me something to do,” he says.
“My family owned a bus line for many years and I just continued
and ran the business. I have been to 18 different schools and seen
many kids. I was chosen to transport all kinds of different children
including those with special needs. Now I even drive my 3 granddaughters.”
Although Gregg has 50 great years of safe and successful bussing
under his hood, there are still bumps in the road he would as soon
“It’s really trying to drive my bus during snow storms,”
Gregg says. “Here in Bruce County, since we’re close
to Lake Huron, you will be out one morning doing your route and
all of a sudden a storm starts and you can’t see the road.
White outs are really scary, especially with a bus full of kids.
You just do your best to stay on the road as you creep along. That’s
the most trying part of my job.”
Wilson Gregg is one bus driver who achieved 50 years of loyal service
transporting thousands and thousands of children. Many more can
follow in his example; and when they come to that fork in the road,
hopefully they will turn in the direction of Gregg’s legacy.
When it comes to bus drivers, Ron Fournier is on a route of his
own. A veteran in the industry with 27 years in his rear-view mirror,
Fournier was crowned Employee of the year in 2000, wrote a book
about his career, and has a track record he can be proud of.
With all his accolades put aside, Fournier speaks about why he
entered the bus industry 27+ years ago and what he finds truly rewarding
about his career choice.
“To be honest, I was looking for a job and I wanted something
challenging,” he says. “I toyed with the idea and went
for it. And now, I believe I made the right decision. I find my
career very rewarding since it gives me the freedom of not being
cooped up in an office and I meet many different people.”
Fournier, a native of Edmonton, wrote a book with Edmonton Transit
entitled “Bus,” and gives suggestions for new bus drivers
getting behind the wheel.
“Follow this career with self-honesty,” he advises.
“If you feel you would enjoy this career, give it a shot.
Follow your instincts.”
The Highlight of his career was when Fournier received his Employee
of the Year award.
“Getting this award was a surprise,” he says. “It
felt good knowing I was recognized for doing my job properly and
A mother of young children Margaret Foster, decided to pursue a
rewarding career as a Laidlaw bus driver. With over 15 years under
her belt, Foster says the flexibility and the new daily surroundings
were enough to get her behind the wheel.
“ Since I have young children, being a bus driver worked
well for me and my schedule,” she says. “I love meeting
new people, and I really like the fact that I am not stuck inside
Being a veteran in the industry, Foster has suggestions for newbie
drivers entering the field.
“ To be a successful bus-driver, you must be aware of your
surroundings,” she advises. “You must have your eyes
open to the other drivers on the road who will give you a hard time.”
Besides having 15 years of flawless driving under her belt, Foster
also has a perfect attendance rate, and says there are many reasons
why being a bus driver is a rewarding career.
“ When children get off the buss and smile at me and then
thank me for driving them home, it’s the most rewarding aspect
of my career. This makes my years as a bus driver all worthwhile.”
Amidst her typical busy day of motherhood, Kinga Chabowski includes
a morning and afternoon school route on a Laidlaw bus. Needing a
flexible profession where her hours were at her convenience, Kinga
decided to pursue a rewarding career as a bus driver.
“I didn’t want to work full-time since I wanted to
stay home and raise my daughter,” she says. “Being a
bus driver meets my needs as a mother and my love for driving.”
Kinga Chabowski resides in Mississauga Ontario and drives a van-like
bus of children from schools of the secondary and elementary levels.
She says in order to be successful as a school bus driver you must
display certain attributes.
“You must enjoy being around kids,” she says. “Also,
I drive my bus during rush hour periods. In order to succeed in
my job, you must be comfortable driving under these conditions and
have the patience to stand the other drivers on the road. They try
your patience sometimes.”
Chabowski has been a Laidlaw bus driver for serveral years now. She
possesses a perfect attendance record, hasn’t missed a day,
and has no accidents. She works part-time in their office as well,
was offered full-time, but declined since it would eliminate her
bus-driving responsibilities, which she enjoys too much to leave.
“I really love working for Laidlaw,” she says. “When
I was offered full-time in the office, I couldn’t accept it
because I love driving my bus and meeting the kids too much.”